Every year during the holidays I replicate recipes that have been handed down generation to generation. If you are at all familiar with the old ‘Italians’ you know that getting them to hand over a recipe often is like pulling teeth or getting water out of a stone!
I changed all that when I got my hands on this recipe because when a recipe is this good and easy it just has to be shared. My Nonna Santa (yes that was her name, SANTA) gave me the recipe.
A no-frills recipe that delivers big on taste, presents so colorfully and additionally can be changed up with a replacement of ingredients. There’s a lot of room for exploration and discovery in this recipe. Dawn an apron, grab you bakeware and let’s bake. Here’s our Christmas Cookie Baking Tradition, so you too can lavishly live cookies out loud!
Best Italian Lemon Drop Cookies
What I remember most about the best Italian Lemon Drop Cookies with icing is that they were always in a glass dish and so tasty. The most round circle part of this story is that when I married my husband, his mom also cooked these Italian Lemon Drop Cookies with icing. Tradition is as tradition does and this is our family recipe.
Before I can share our Baking Tradition, I have to share a secret. No cookie turns out well unless you have the tools of the trade, so here’s what I use and where I got them. Excellent tools yield great results. Every bite tastes delectable from cookie batter to icing. Don’t lick your screen!
Best Italian Lemon Drop Cookies – Let’s Go!
I doubled the recipe you can make less by halving it! What I love the most is the colorfulness of the end product. After all, what party would these not look good at? Also, these are not hard to make at all, yet they look like you took a long time to prepare! Baker heaven!
These are my most favorite and coveted recipe, yet I don’t mind sharing the wealth. Your family will beg you for these long after they have disappeared! Can you keep up with the supply and demand?
1 C of Sugar
1 C of Butter
4 C of Flour
3 Tsp Baking Powder
3 Tsp of Lemon Extract
1 Tsp of Real Vanilla
4 Tbsp Milk
1 Lemon, Washed & Rind Shredded (zested)
Preheat Oven to 375° (bake about 10 minutes each until bottoms brown lightly)
Place butter, sugar, milk, and eggs in the bowl.
Mix and then add in vanilla, and lemon and continue to stir.
Add lemon rind zest, baking powder and stir.
Slowly add in flour, cup by cup, making sure to get it all stirred on in. The dough is very easy to work with and flawlessly provides! Do not let it sit after you make it. Keep on reading the instructions continue.
Clean sides of the bowl, scoop all towards the center.
The dough is spongy-like. Truth be told it’s my favorite dough to work with.
Use your spatula and a regular tablespoon (silverware) and spoon to a tray.
Repeat until tray is filled and spaced properly
Bake for 10 minutes until bottoms brown lightly. Do not let this burn they will taste awful if you do.
Allow to cool for a few hours and then you will ice them with my Italian Icing.
Grab my simple icing recipe.
All you will be doing is spreading icing with measuring cups and putting on those nonpareils (see how many you get on your floor, lol!) This is the easy part. I do suggest lining the trays with parchment paper so cleanup is easier, but you can do as you choose.
Also, fingers come in handy for tasting the run off icing! Truly it is sweet but not too sweet. Gratifying yet not too intense. You will see and the crunch of the nonpareil makes it best!
Sprinkle while the icing is wet, you need these to stick and not roll off. I very much suggest getting as close to the cookie as you can when you add the sprinkles and remember they stain (yes I learned that years ago and always forget the mess!)
I have seen these in many colors, and you, of course, could use traditional sprinkles or crystallized colors of sugar, all your personal preference.
Enjoy, with a cup of coffee ~ XO Dana
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